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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 7 month year old male (not fixed), named Axel. He is an awesome puppy and plays and interacts very well with my small children and our older Shepherd. He has had the basic walk/sit/leave it/obedience type training that we did through a K9 group.

When he is excited he constantly runs around me (or whoever I am with) and starts barking and sniffing the floor. At first I thought this was cute but now I am wondering if I should try and correct this. He will do this inside and outside when we pet him in a playful manner and get him excited. He doesn't bite or get mad he just runs around and sniffs the floor like crazy and barks like crazy.

Any suggestions on how or IF I should try and correct this behavior while he is still a pup? I am thinking it may be OCD because he also chases shadows and stares at lights/TV.

Maybe we should correct via the Mini Educator electric training collar that we use for his obedience training? Or give him a toy when he does this behavior to take his mind off of it? Any other ideas or is this just a normal male Shepherd puppy thing? Our oldest Shepherd is female and has never done this sort of thing. Please see below video.

 

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First thought was if he’s been exposed to a laser pointer before?

Second thought, shadows... you say he also does this inside, but did it start outside?

Also, what was your reaction to this when he was younger and you thought it was cute? Has it inadvertently been reinforced?
 

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First thought was if he’s been exposed to a laser pointer before?

Second thought, shadows... you say he also does this inside, but did it start outside?

Also, what was your reaction to this when he was younger and you thought it was cute? Has it inadvertently been reinforced?
Great questions. I don't think he has seen a laser pointer but I do have two small children so they may have tried it without me knowing.

As for shadows, yes he is very intrigued by shadows but he does this barking/sniffing thing when we are playing and he is excited.

This current barking/sniffing behavior started outside and we responded playfully as well which could have reinforced the behavior.

So now my big question is what can I do to correct this if anything? He is a very high-drive dog according to our trainer and he said that he has seen this before in other Shepherds of similar nature but he didn't have much feedback on what we should do about it.
 

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It's not very clear, based on your previous answer, if he has been exposed to a laser. It can ruin a dog in a few sessions. If there's a laser in the house, throw it in the garbage and don't tell your kids this. Have you or the kids played with a flash light for him to chase? He is chasing shadows which is an OCD behavior, often the result of chasing a laser. I hear you responding to him chasing shadows, which rewards the behavior. Do the opposite; walk away without saying anything and reward him when he is calm. You can also leash him and work him to get his mind off the shadows. It's a potential disastrous behavior that requires immediate action on your part to nip it in the bud. Give him plenty of structured activities to keep him from getting bored and alternate it with crate time where he cannot practice this behavior. Do not allow your kids unsupervised contact with him to prevent them from accidentally rewarding his behavior.
 

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It's not very clear, based on your previous answer, if he has been exposed to a laser. It can ruin a dog in a few sessions. If there's a laser in the house, throw it in the garbage and don't tell your kids this. Have you or the kids played with a flash light for him to chase? He is chasing shadows which is an OCD behavior, often the result of chasing a laser. I hear you responding to him chasing shadows, which rewards the behavior. Do the opposite; walk away without saying anything and reward him when he is calm. You can also leash him and work him to get his mind off the shadows. It's a potential disastrous behavior that requires immediate action on your part to nip it in the bud. Give him plenty of structured activities to keep him from getting bored and alternate it with crate time where he cannot practice this behavior. Do not allow your kids unsupervised contact with him to prevent them from accidentally rewarding his behavior.
That's great feedback, thank you. He may have had some laser play as a small puppy and I have removed them from the house. Do you think I should try and correct him with the Mini Educator when he does the barking and circle sniffing?
 

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My female did this as a older pup. No introduction to laser lights or anything. Just a ocd thing with shadows. I would redirect but then corrected her she eventually stopped. It can become a bad habit so supervision is needed to make sure this behavior is not embedded.
 

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That's great feedback, thank you. He may have had some laser play as a small puppy and I have removed them from the house. Do you think I should try and correct him with the Mini Educator when he does the barking and circle sniffing?
Just my opinion, but I would try using a leash or a drag line first. You can't go from reinforcing a behavior to correcting him for it, intentionally or not, without first teaching him an alternate.
 
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